‘My grandfather was an Aboriginal man, his son, my Dad, taught me a lot of things. We would make spears, with three prongs and go fishing and snorkelling. It’s funny how it didn’t register to me that I was Aboriginal, as all the signs were all there. Dad taught me at 3 years old to look after mum and the kids when he used to go away to work.  I was a pretty little thing. I was the only one that was blonde and I stayed blonde all my life. Everybody was attracted to me and especially the dregs of society. They’d get their erections and they’d unzip and pull my little knickers down and sit me on their laps. That’s how I was introduced to sex, at 3 years old. I told my Dad, and I was devastated, because he didn’t believe. That was the first time Dad let me down, I thought Dad would fight for me and he didn’t.  Once before he went away, he’d beaten Mum really badly so I looked after her.  When we had no money or food, we used to go to the shop and collect scraps that the shop keepers gave us. One night my sister took the food from inside the shop, none of us thought it was stealing. We were taken away, all six of us, and WE were charged with neglect. Nobody told us anything about the world. The only world we knew was inside whatever institution or foster home we were in. One institution, had these fund-raising days and they’d dress us up in beautiful clothes and people used to give us gifts. As soon the people left they took the clothes and the gifts. We got nothing again. The staff got our gifts.

A foster father was sexually interfering with me and I told Children’s Services who said, “We believe you, but they foster a lot of children for us and we can’t afford to loose them”. When I read this part of my Freedom of Information, they wrote it as an “extramarital affair”, but I was 9 when I went to them. I was 15 when I left. I had a foster brother who wanted to have sex with me and I said ” No.”, but I then I charge him ten pence and he eventually ended up penetrating me. They sent me to Boothville Unwed Mothers Home, where I was forced to adopt my daughter. That was really just the start of the abuse, my story is a long one. I am 68 years old  and I’ve been raped and sexually assaulted ever since I was 3. I’ve experienced every type of abuse possible. I received my file, most of it was redacted. I haven’t able to read the whole file. There’s a lot of stuff that’s not in there and there are  some homes I don’t even know I was in. I have had Aspergers and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for most of my life, but because I’m high functioning people don’t see me as disabled. I just don’t dwell on it. What I do is I learn new ways of coping.

I’m a person who’s interested in learning and growing rather than living in the past. That’s why I am now an advocate and peer support for others that have gone through similar things to me. They know that I’m true and I will give an honest opinion.  I will stand up and fight with my last breath and my last energy to see things change.  My faith in the Lord has given me strength, I have maintained my faith since I was a little girl. I wouldn’t change my life, that  is just how it is, it made me who I am today and I like who I am today.’

 –MARLENE WILSON , QLD 2019

Board Member and Advocate for the Alliance for the Forgotten Australians

Multi-award Winning Artist